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Guide to travel to cusco
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Cusco Travel Guide

Cusco is one of the most cosmopolitan and interesting cities in South America and is considered a World Heritage Site. In addition, it is recognized for its many archaeological sites such as: Pisac, Chinchero, Ollantaytambo and, of course, Machu Picchu. Find out how to get there, what to see, when to go? and much more.

Cusco, historical capital of Peru

Cusco is located in the Andes Mountains of Peru, at 3,399 meters above sea level. (11,151ft). Its climate is temperate. It varies from 4ºC. at 21ºC. Machu Picchu is approximately 120 kilometers from Cusco. To get there on your own, you travel by train from the town of Ollantaytambo.

How to get to Cusco?

  • To get to Cusco, tourists start their journey in Lima, the capital of Peru. All international flights arrive there.
  • Flights depart from Lima to the city of Cusco. The journey takes 1 hour and 15 minutes, approximately.
    • By plane
      Cusco’s Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport receives flights from Lima every day. The main airlines that operate this route are: Latam, Avianca, Star Peru and Peruvian Airlines. Most hotels are 10 minutes from the airport. Taxi services there charge between 10 (3 USD) and 20 soles (6 USD).
    • By bus
      A huge number of bus companies operate the Lima – Cusco route. However, Peru’s rugged geography makes traveling by bus quite tedious. The journey will take 20 hours. The land terminal of Cusco is located 10 minutes from the Historic Center of Cusco. Taxi services charge between 8 (3 USD) and 15 soles (5 USD).

What is the best time to go to Cusco?

  • Any time is good to visit Cusco. However, each month has its own characteristics. From November to April, for example, there are rains. From May to October..
    • Rainy weather (from November to April)
      During these months, the rains increase in Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. In addition, hotels and tourism agencies tend to lower their prices. The Inca Trail closes in February. The other tourist attractions of Cusco and Machu Picchu keep their doors open.

  • Buy your ticket for 2025 from 2024 and ensure yes or yes your entrance to Machu Picchu.
  • Ollantaytambo Festival (January 6).
  • Feast of San Sebastian (January 20).
  • The Virgin of Candelaria (February).
  • Carnivals (February).
  • The Lord of Earthquakes (March – April).
  • weather without rain (From May to October)
    The weather in those months is dry and sunny. The rains are infrequent. The nights are colder. The dry season coincides with holidays in the United States and Europe, so tourism increases. Train tickets, hotels, guides and tickets must be purchased in advance (online). Otherwise, you will not find availability.

  • Cruz Velacuy (May 2).
  • Lord of Torrechayoc (May).
  • Qoyllur Rit’i (June).
  • Corpus Christi (June 11).
  • Inti Raymi (June 24).
  • Pachamama Raymi (August 1).

What to do in Cusco?

Cusco offers many activities and tourist attractions. Of course, the most visited tourist attraction is Machu Picchu. However, you can also visit other archaeological sites (Pisac, Ollantaytambo, Chinchero, Sacsayhuaman, Coricancha), do adventure sports (canoeing, cycling, trekking, mountain climbing) and much more.

These are the main tourist attractions of Cusco:

  • Machu Picchu
    Machu Picchu was an Inca urban and religious center. In 2007 it was chosen one of the 7 Wonders of the modern World.
    The Inca Citadel is almost 120 kilometers from the city of Cusco.
    The entrance is with the Machu Picchu ticket (152 soles / 47 USD).
  • Pisac
    Pisac was an Inca urban and religious center. It has stone constructions such as the Temple of the Sun, the Intihuatana and more.
    Pisac is located in the Sacred Valley of the Incas (only 34 kilometers from the city of Cusco).
    The entrance is with the Tourist Ticket of Cusco (70 soles / 21 USD).
  • Ollantaytambo
    Ollantaytambo was an urban, religious center and Inca fortress that stands out for its huge stairways, platforms and stone buildings.
    Ollantaytambo is located 79 kilometers from the city of Cusco.
    The entrance is with the Tourist Ticket of Cusco (70 soles / 21 USD).
  • Chinchero
    Chinchero has the archaeological site where the palace of the Inca Túpac Yupanqui was built. It has platforms, walls and stairways.
    Chinchero is located at 3,762 meters above sea level. The city of Cusco is 30 kilometers from Chinchero.
    The entrance is with the Tourist Ticket of Cusco (70 soles / 21 USD).
  • Sacsayhuaman
    Sacsayhuaman is a huge archaeological complex where its walls with polished stones weighing more than 125 tons stand out.
    Sacsayhuaman is located 4 kilometers from the city of Cusco.
    The entrance is with the Tourist Ticket of Cusco (70 soles / 21 USD).
  • Coricancha
    Coricancha was the most important Inca temple in the time of the Incas. On its foundations the current Convent of Santo Domingo was built.
    Coricancha is located less than 2 kilometers from the Plaza de Armas of the city of Cusco.
    Admission is directly at the venue ticket office (15 soles / 5 USD).
  • Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
    The Inca Trail is a 4-day, 3-night (39 km) trek to the Inca City of Machu Picchu. It is considered one of the best 5 hiking trails on the planet.
    To complete the Inca Trail, a tour must be purchased 4 or 5 months in advance. The cost is 500 dollars, approximately.
  • Caminata por Salkantay
    The Salkantay Trek is a 5-day, 4-night trek that ends at Machu Picchu. Cross the famous ‘Abra Salkantay’ (4,650 m.s.n.m.). It travels a total of 65 kilometers.
    Although you can do this walk on your own, the safest way is to do it with an organized tour. The approximate cost is $350.
  • Hike to Choquequirao
    Choquequirao is an urban and religious Inca center. Her resemblance to Machu Picchu earned her the nickname of ‘the sacred Sister of Machu Picchu’.
    Choquequirao is 180 kilometers from Cusco. To get there, you must do a 2-day, 1-night hiking route.
    The cost of a tour to Choquequirao 4 days, 3 nights is approximately 500 dollars.
  • Adventure sports
    Cusco offers several adventure sports such as: canoeing, cycling, paragliding, ziplining, trekking, mountain climbing and more.
    Most sports take place in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Tours can be purchased in the city of Cusco.
    The prices vary according to the activity and the tourism agency that organizes it..
  • Museums
    In Cusco there are dozens of museums and cultural centers. The most famous are: the Inka Museum, the Museum of Pre-Columbian Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Machu Picchu Site Museum and more.
    The entrance to the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Coricancha Site Museum, the Regional Historical Museum and the Popular Art Museum are with the Cusco Tourist Ticket.

How to move in Cusco?

  • Public transport
    In Cusco there are several public transport companies that run through the streets of the city. Shuttles operate from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. until around 9 p.m. The cost of a bus ticket is approximately 0.80 cents (0.25 USD).
  • Taxis
    Taxi services are common throughout the city of Cusco. If you are going to hail a taxi, try to get one that belongs to an organized company. Fares depend on the distance traveled. Prices vary from 5 Peruvian soles (2 USD) to 20 Peruvian soles (6 USD).
  • Walks.
    Most of the hotels and restaurants are in the Historic Center of Cusco. There is also the Plaza de Armas, the Cathedral, the San Pedro market and more. To move in the city center you only need to walk a little.
  • Organized tour.
    If you travel from Cusco to the Sacred Valley or Machu Picchu, you can hire the services of an organized tour. The main tours in Cusco are: Full Day City Tour, Full Day Sacred Valley Tour, Full Day Machu Picchu Tour, etc. All include the transportation service to the different tourist attractions.
Atractivos del Cusco
Cusco attractions

Where to eat in Cusco?

  • Cusco has many tourist restaurants where you can find Peruvian and international food for all tastes and prices.
  • The San Pedro de Cusco market is one of the cheapest gastronomic options. There you can try a fried trout, a ceviche or other dishes for 10 Peruvian soles (3 USD).
  • The most elegant options are: the Chicha restaurant, Le Soleil, Pirqa or Cicciolina.

Where to sleep in Cusco?

  • If there is something that abounds in Cusco, it is the hotels. Prices can vary greatly although most offer quality services.
  • The economic options preferred by young adventurers are: the Loki hotel, the Inca Wild Hostel, the Pirwa Backpackers and more.
  • The most luxurious options are:
    the JW. Marriott, the Belmond Hotel Monasterio, the Casa Andina hotel, the Palacio del Inka, among others

Nightlife in Cusco

  • Cusco is quite famous in South America for its active nightlife.
  • Near the Plaza de Armas you can find many bars, discos, pubs and more.
  • The most popular bars in Cusco are:
    the Irish Bar Paddy, Ciudad de Londres, Ukuku’s Bar, Republica del Pisco and more
  • The most popular nightclubs in Cusco are: Ukuku’s, Mama Africa, Muki and more.

Advice from people who have been there

Cusco Imperial

Smith M.By: Smith M.

“The Magic!“

“Coricancha, Sacsayhuaman Impressive. Machu Picchu is really wonderful. Very beautiful!“


By Ticket Machu Picchu – Last updated, December 30, 2023